The first DLC for Distant Worlds 2 has dropped one year after the release of the game. Adding two new factions, the harmonious and loyal
Quokkas Ikkuro and the devious and mercenary House Ordos Dhayut. Both races come with their own unique shipsets – which have material impacts on combat – AI differences such as trustworthiness and aggressiveness, unique ground forces based on their physiology, and unique stories about their origins that play out through the game. New to these races over the default ones is a set of new unique attributes that more greatly impact the races playstyle, though over time the original races are planned to be retrofitted with these too – along with the addition of even more races from the setting (rumour mill says Quameno are soon).
There’s no denying the game launched in a bit of a rough state – it had immense promise and was fairly enjoyable, but it was held back by a number of problems. It speaks to the character of the developers that they did not release monetised DLC until the game was patched to be in a very good state. The recent free Aurora patch alone verges on DLC level of changes and additions and was covered earlier in this article.
The races added are as different as they can be. The Ikkuro are nature loving, peaceful primates that are loyal to their allies and want to trade peacefully with other factions. The Dhayut are corruption loving, treacherous spider-bros that are loyal to their base desires and want to mercilessly exploit others for their own gain, be it through stealing and espionage of empires or slavery of individuals.
Ships are one of the most enjoyable and material differences between the races as each race has its own unique shipset – which is not just graphical, each ship of each class has its own set of hardpoints that change how it functions and is best used. Some ships even have predominantly rear-arc firepower leading to either a kiting playstyle, or a missile based playstyle as missiles have a 360 degree arc of fire no matter what the hardpoint says.
Both races get new unique modifiers that original races do not have (yet). The Ikkuro get improved diplomacy, bonuses to happiness for establishing colonies on new types of worlds (yay some of us live on a volcano world, I’m *so happy*!!), and happiness when a new non-aggression or defensive treaty is signed. They suffer negative happiness if you make them commit exterminatus on a planet or genocide on a colony (damn snowflakes…) and are similarly unhappy if you fail them and lead them into a war of any kind. This really helps enforce them as natural federation builders alongside humans who are the original masters of diplomacy.
The Dhayut however take a *slightly* different tack to the Ikkuro. Espionage takes the forefront of their intergalactic diplomacy, with a new mission type “Disinformation” making other factions view them more favourably, and “Inspired Conniving” a feature that allows for successful difficult missions to provide a boost to all other espionage missions against that faction for a year. National policy also gets some love of a sort, with such lovely traits as “slaver” and “Divide and Rule”, the former increases profits when using “cheap labour sources”, and the latter helps keeps your people happy. Spies also gain some unique traits that improve their counter espionage and assassination mission effectiveness.
Dhayut have more forward-facing heavy weapons and rear/side facing small weapons. Ikkuro have more spread weapon loadouts and can get hangars on smaller ships (destroyers) than Dhayut who get them on the larger cruisers at the earliest. The Dhayut battleship however looks to be a huge brawler with weapons in all directions, much like the Ikkuro one.
Ikkuro’s unique tech is a mixed bag with their Organic Hulls being the best of the self-repairing ship, higher rate of fire beam weapons with their fusion beams and their Splinter Pods being longer range assault pods. The Dhayut however only have one ship-based special research, that being the Velocity Drive Hyperdrive which is the fastest hyperdrive in the galaxy, capable of doing the Kessel run in the same number of parsecs as every other drive because that is a unit of distance, not speed.
In end game, this has little impact as you have many more types of troops you can employ than basic fleshy light infantry, but it speaks to the physical capabilities of the races. Some races, like the Mortallen, are hulking brutes that thrive in close combat, while others like the Teekan really, really, REALLY do not. The peace loving Ikkuro are actually relatively strong in individual combat thanks to their nature as large primates making them substantially more durable and a little stronger than Dhayut.
The year of patching culminating in Aurora has left Distant Worlds 2 in a very good state. There is still room for improvement, but it can be truthfully stated that Distant Worlds 2 is now a good game that fulfils most of the promise it had unrealized at launch. The Factions – Ikkuro & Dhayut DLC is an excellent buy for someone already invested in Distant Worlds 2. Both factions add a lot of flavour to the game and if a new player to the game decides they are loving the core offering, it’s definitely worth picking it up later for the radically different playstyles for the new races.